• Radio sitcom
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2021 - 2023
  • 5 episodes (1 series)

Comedy focusing on a father who has long term mental health issues. Stars Jamie Sives, Raffi Philips, Rosalind Sydney and Gail Watson.

Comedy and mental health survival


I have battled with mental health issues for most of my life, and - to be honest and to be clear - it has been a battle for survival.

Everyone has different ways of coping, to keep going to survive; whatever works is whatever works, and you go with whatever keeps you going.

For those of us with mental health issues, we are faced with waiting times for support of up to two years. So many of us on these waiting lists are in emergency situations, but the support and help simply doesn't exist. Politicians claim to care, and occasionally will virtue signal that they do, but mostly it is empty words with no support at the end of it. They get to appear as if they care on a news soundbite, yet those with no support continue to suffer desperately.

Amazing charity-based services do exist, such as the Samaritans and Penumbra (in Scotland) who try their best with extremely limited resources to do what they can, but as charities they face no financial support from those in power, so struggle to meet the ever growing need.

Magnus Mackintosh

In the context of survival with mental health, for me personally, one thing that has helped me immensely over the years has been comedy. Even from a very young age I found comedy incredibly inspiring, it has the ability to lift you in that one moment from the darkest place imaginable and to make you laugh, even if just for that one second.

The value of comedy as an art form is so incredibly underappreciated within society; if you are someone who has not been able to even smile once in 24 hours, or maybe even a week or a month, that one tiny break in the clouds is worth more than all the gold in the world.

To remember, just for that one instant, that actually things can be better, can be hopeful, it lifts away that feeling of hopelessness. Even if this feeling is fleeting, it has incredible value.

To make someone laugh or smile is to take away that feeling of darkness, and is an incredible gift to be able to give or receive.

For me, growing up I became very obsessed with sitcoms, a neat clear package of 22 to 28 minutes (depending on if American or British) where you could escape from the darkness, a reminder to laugh and remember that you can smile, even today.

It has been my aim in writing my own BBC Radio 4 sitcom, Disordered, not only to highlight mental health issues that I am passionate about but also to give back something to this incredible art form that has helped me over the years.

There needs to be a mental health revolution in this country where people have a proper safety net to stop them falling or catch them when they do, until that exists the crisis will continue.

Until that point, we need to do whatever we can in order to survive. If at any point in your day you can remember, even if briefly, to smile or to laugh, embrace it as much as you can.

Comedy can help survival, and that's no laughing matter. Well it is, but you get what I mean.

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